Is Covid Affecting Cruise Ships in Miami, FL?
February 22, 2022 | Sagi Shaked | Personal Injury
Many people were thrilled when cruise ships set sail again from Miami. The COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the cruise ship industry. With cruise ships back in business, people could again enjoy the open seas and exotic locations.
In December 2021, Florida hit the highest level of COVID cases since the pandemic began. Unfortunately, the outbreak appears to have hit many cruise ships docked in Florida.
During the week of Christmas, there were three COVID-19 outbreaks on South Florida-based cruise ships. The three outbreaks affected ships operated by Royal Caribbean and Carnival. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was investigating or observing at least 86 cruise ships for COVID-19 infections at the end of 2021.
Operators of cruise ships claim they follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many cruise lines require guests to be vaccinated and tested before boarding the ship. However, it does not appear that the precautions are working.
Who is Liable if You Contract COVID on a Cruise Ship?
Illnesses on cruise ships have been a problem for many years. People traveling from port to port in close quarters make it easy to spread infections. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is not the first illness to spread through cruise ships.
Passengers who contract COVID-19 on a cruise ship might have a personal injury claim against the operator and owner of the ship. However, proving the cruise line is liable for damages caused by getting COVID-19 can be challenging.
Proving the Cruise Ship is Liable for Your COVID-19 Damages
If you contracted COVID-19 on a cruise ship, you could be entitled to compensation for damages. First, however, you must prove the cruise line was negligent.
Negligence is failing to use reasonable care to avoid harming or injuring another person. First, you would need to prove that the cruise line knew or should have known passengers were at risk of contracting the coronavirus AND that the cruise line failed to take reasonable measures to mitigate the risk.
Examples of failing to mitigate the risk could include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces
- Setting sail after receiving medical advice that it was unsafe
- Refusing to quarantine sick passengers and staff members
- Failing to develop appropriate strategies for reducing the risk of getting sick
- Using cleaning materials that do not kill the coronavirus
- Failing to require employees to wear masks during spikes in COVID-19 cases
As with many industries, the cruise line attempts to protect itself by notifying passengers they have a risk of contracting the coronavirus if they board the ship. Passengers may agree they understand and accept the risk.
The agreement generally contains specific language that the passenger assumes the risk and holds the cruise line harmless if they contract COVID-19 while aboard the ship. In addition, the agreement waives the person’s right to seek compensation from the cruise line.
However, a waiver and assumption of risk does not always defeat a legal action for damages. The best way to know if you have a claim against a cruise line for contracting COVID-19 is to speak with an experienced Miami, FL cruise ship injury lawyer.
What Damages Could I Receive for Contracting COVID-19 on a Cruise Ship?
If you prove that the cruise ship is liable for your damages, you could receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages. The damages in a COVID-19 case depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your exposure to the disease.
In most personal injury cases, the negligent party can be held liable for damages including:
- Medical expenses related to treating the infection, including complications caused by COVID-19
- Long-term care and therapy for permanent impairments or disabilities caused by the virus
- Compensation for pre-existing conditions that worsened because you contracted the virus
- The loss of income, wages, benefits, and earning potential
- The cost of canceled flights and travel plans
- Expenses related to staying out of town because you cannot travel home with the virus
- Emotional, physical, and mental pain and suffering
- Losses and inconvenience from being quarantined on the cruise ship
Determining damages related to contracting COVID-19 on a cruise ship can be a complicated and challenging issue in a personal injury case. The cruise ship and its insurance provider will argue that you assumed the risk and they are not liable for damages.
If they accept liability, they will likely argue that you did not suffer as much as you claim or that the value you place on damages is higher than your actual losses.
Working with an experienced Miami cruise ship injury lawyer is essential. An experienced cruise ship lawyer already understands the complexities and legal issues related to suing a cruise line.